Aussie healthcare breathes new life

Aussie healthcare breathes new life

A Brisbane health experiment, which aims to provide better support to diabetes sufferers through an electronic records management system, could be used to improve healthcare throughout the rest of Australia.

The Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC) has signed a $2.9 million contract with the Federal Department of Health and Ageing, in partnership with the General Practice Computing Group and Queensland Health, to develop a software solution for HealthConnect.

HealthConnect is Australia's planned system of shared electronic health records. This latest trial, to be conducted in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, will test the value, technical feasibility and sustainability of an electronic health record system shared between the public and private system, whilst also being available to care teams.

Bruce Tweedie, business manager for DSTC explained how it will work. "Doctors will have access to software on their desktop which allows them to enter all of the patients information. After it has been entered, they will then be required to press a button, which sends that data to the Queensland Health Department, where it is uploaded to a server and stored in a database provided by DSTC, called openEHR. This information can then be accessed anywhere via a browser.

"At the moment, patient records have to be sent to different care providers via post, and this takes time. This new system, however, will allow a doctor, or any other healthcare provider, to have immediate access to the patient's health condition, so long as they can find access to the web. The data contains details about the patient's current state of health, medication that is being used, blood pressure and other useful information to help the health care provider make an up to date assessment."

Mark Gibson, CEO of DSTC added. "While there will be many open standards benefits for the health I.T. community arising from these initiatives, there is also the potential for DSTC to commercialise some of the intellectual property we are developing. Countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. are now exploring the open standards approach to electronic health records making our Australian technology a prime candidate for vast export potential."

openEHR has been designed to use XML technology to make sure information about patients with diabetes is shared between healthcare providers whilst the privacy of that patient is protected. The information can only be exchanged with the consent of the patient.

The Brisbane experiment, 1000 consumers will be used 100 healthcare provides could be involved too.

Related Article:

Bedside laptops provide future comfort for Aussie hospitals

Business Solution: